Under ideal growing conditions, jade plants can grow up to 5 feet tall. Their fleshy leaves and thick stems are sturdy but the root system of the jade plant is shallow and the plants can become top-heavy. To prevent toppling and allow the plant to reach its full growth potential, repot every three to five years. If you have recently acquired a new jade plant and do not know the last time it was repotted, repot the plant in a nominally larger container---no more than a 2-inch diameter increase---to ensure stability in its new pot.
Allow the potting soil of the existing plant to dry out to a depth of 2 inches. This will facilitate removal of the potted jade.
Lay newspaper or a tarp over your workspace to aid in cleanup. Turn the potted jade onto its side and gently tug the plant at the base of the stem. If it resists, poke your finger into the drainage hole to push the root ball out.
If you are still meeting resistance, run a long-bladed knife along the inside perimeter of the pot. This will cut the roots from the sides of the container.
If all else fails, don your safely goggles and break the pot with a hammer. Carefully remove and discard the broken pieces of pottery.
Lay your jade plant on the newspaper. Trim any damaged roots and carefully untangle any roots that are encircling the root ball.
Put a piece of screening over the drainage hole of your new pot. Do not use gravel in the bottom of the pot because this can inhibit drainage and cause root damage.
Add potting soil to the bottom of the pot. The newly potted plant should sit at the same height as it did in its previous pot. Fill the sides around the root ball with potting soil, firmly tamping the soil down to ensure stability.
Water thoroughly then allow the soil to dry out to a depth of 2 inches before watering again.